Existential Conservatism

Philosophy 94 (3):383-407 (2019)
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This essay articulates a kind of conservatism that it argues is the most fundamental and important kind of conservatism, viz. existential conservatism, which involves an affirmative and appreciative stance towards the given world. While this form of conservatism can be connected to political conservatism, as seen with Roger Scruton, it need not be, as seen with G. A. Cohen. It is argued that existential conservatism should be embraced whether or not one embraces political conservatism, though it is also shown that existential conservatism imposes constraints on our political thinking. In particular, it is argued that Cohen's ‘luck egalitarianism’ stands at odds with his existential conservatism and that one should be a sufficientarian rather than an egalitarian with regard to economic justice.

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David McPherson
University of Florida

Citations of this work

Conservative Critiques.Justin Tosi & Brandon Warmke - 2022 - In Matt Zwolinski & Benjamin Ferguson (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Libertarianism. Routledge. pp. 579-592.
There Is No Such Thing as a Political Conservative.Nicholas Smyth - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory.
After virtue and conservatism.David McPherson - 2023 - In Tom Angier (ed.), MacIntyre's After Virtue at 40. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Višedimenzionalizam, otpor i demografski problem.Ian James Kidd - 2023 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 19 (1):4-30.
Is Roger Scruton a Christian Platonist?James Bryson - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 81 (2):136-154.

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References found in this work

Equality as a moral ideal.Harry Frankfurt - 1987 - Ethics 98 (1):21-43.
Finding oneself in the other.Gerald Allan Cohen (ed.) - 2012 - Princeton University Press.

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